Newly-elected Tory MP claims austerity ‘didn’t go too far’

PUBLISHED: 09:07 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:26 13 January 2020

Newly-elected Tory MP Gary Sambrook appears on BBC Politics Midlands. Photograph: BBC.

Newly-elected Tory MP Gary Sambrook appears on BBC Politics Midlands. Photograph: BBC.

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A newly-elected Conservative MP has dismissed claims that people paid a price with the government’s austerity programme.

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Gary Sambrook, the new Birmingham Northfield Tory MP, was appearing on the BBC Politics Midlands programme to talk blue-collar Conservatism when he blamed Labour for the government's austerity choices.

He said: "We've come out of the other end of that, we've come out of austerity, we're moving on, we're going to invest in schools and the NHS."

But Labour MP Shabana Mahmood, a fellow MP for Birmingham, could not allow his soundbites to go unchallenged on the programme.

She asked: "Gary, can we take from that blue-collar Conservatives think austerity went too far? Would you accept that dinner ladies, van drivers, all of those people paid the price for political choices to deal with the deficit?"

An undeterred Sambrook pointed out that the working classes had backed Boris Johnson. He continued: "Well they obviously don't think that because they voted Conservative in a general election just gone by, and they feel as if it was the right choice to make."

"But do you think austerity went too far?" asked Mahmood again.

"No I don't," insisted the Conservative MP. "We had to make difficult decisions to get the public finances in order," he explained, to the amazement of the Labour MP.

In a video shared on social media - and viewed thousands of times - users reacted with anger.

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Christopher Bloore responded: "When you lose elections you embolden people like this. To simply gloss over the hurt and pain caused by a Tory government. Eyes on the prize please Labour. A generation is at risk."

Asif Mohammed tweeted: "Austerity was a political weapon in the hands of corporate Britain who used it unrelentingly against the working-class by closing our libraries, privatising our schools and outsourcing our NHS. No wonder they're rubbing their hands with glee 10 years later."

"Over a third of kids in Northfield live in poverty but apparently austerity didn't go too far for our new Tory MP," said Twitter user @Kirsten_KE.

"Tell that to families struggling to eat through in work poverty, the homeless, our foodbank volunteers - and this is the tip of the iceberg," wrote Kevin Round.

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